Welcome to the TV Film of the Week. The name says it all! The Snooty Ushers have put their heads together to recommend a couple of films that you can watch this week on TV.
NB since we are all still ushers at heart, our weeks will start on a Friday.
So, our TV Film of the Week is:
’71 (Yann Demange, 2014)
Film4, Thursday 26th November, 21:00
Rising star Jack O’Connell plays a young soldier separated from his unit in Belfast during the Troubles, and brings a great performance. A true thriller that ratchets up the tension throughout. A must-see.
To give you another option, Our Other TV Film Of The Week is
Dredd (Pete Travis, 2012)
Film4, Thursday 26th November, 22:55
And straight after ‘71, here’s another high tension thriller- although obviously slightly less realistic! Karl Urban (Bones in the new Star Trek films) plays the street judge who has to fight his way through a high rise block of flats to take down drug dealer Ma-Ma (GoT’s Lena Headey). A dark action film that deserved a lot better at the box office, it was written by Alex Garland, who also wrote the excellent 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Never Let Me Go. A quality, grown-up comic book film.
For your consideration
It’s a good week, so here’s the best of the rest:
I Spit On Your Grave (BBFC Rating 18, Stephen R. Monroe, 2009) – Remake of the 70s revenge/exploitation film. Brutal and unsettling. Not a pleasant experience. Sequel is on at 22:55 . Horror Channel, Friday 20th November, 00:30
Run Fatboy Run (BBFC Rating 12, David Schwimmer, 2007) – Simon Pegg runs out on his pregnant fiancee Thandie Newton, and five years later, he tries to win her back from Hank Azaria. How do you repair such a relationship and win her back? By running a marathon! A well crafted comedy, and yes, directed by Ross from Friends! Film4, Friday 20th November, 19:00
Layer Cake (BBFC Rating 15, Matthew Vaughn, 2004) – A classy gangster thriller that kick started the careers of Daniel Craig and Matthew Vaughn, who had only been a producer of Guy Richie films but went on to make Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsmen. Craig’s future Q (Ben Whishaw), Micahel Gambon, and Tom Hardy costar. 5*, Friday 20th November, 21:00 / Wednesday 25th November 23:20
The Man with the Iron Fists (BBFC Rating 18, RZA, 2012) – Leader of the Wu-Tang Clang RZA made an ambitious directing debut, playing the lead in a historical, martial arts film. The story of a blacksmith (with iron fists after getting his arms cut off) who leads a group of warriors to free their village from a corrupt official Jack Knife – played by Russel Crowe. Lucy Lui also stars in a surprisingly high profile cast, with Spectre’s Dave Bautista a very entertaining baddie called Brassbody, whose body turns to brass when under attack. Channel 4, Saturday 21st November, 01:00
Hunchback of Notre Dame (BBFC Rating PG, William Dieterle, 1939) – Classic horror on BBC2, a straighter story than the more supernatural Frankenstein and Dracula pictures of the same era. BBC2, Saturday 21st November, 06:45
Toys (BBFC Rating PG, Barry Levisnson, 1992) – The sadly missed Robin Williams dials it back in this slight mis-fire from the director of The Addams Family and Men In Black. It falls slightly short of it’s Willy Wonka-level goals, but it’s a surprisingly restrained performance from Williams, even man-child trying to stop his fathers toy company being turned into a weapons factory by his General Uncle (Michael Gambon). Film4, Saturday 21st November, 13:00
Princess Mononoke (BBFC Rating PG, Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) – After last week’s recommendation My Neighbour Totoro, another brilliant animation from the master Miyazaki. Stick it on Sky+, it’s beautiful. Film4, Saturday 21st November, 15:20
X-Men: First Class (BBFC Rating 12A, Matthew Vaughn, 2011) – X-Men films are probably the most consistent of all of the comic book franchises, with only 1 duff (Last Stand) in the set. Here, Layer Cake’s Matthew Vaughn takes up the reins on the franchise and reboots the whole thing, opening up a world of possibilities that will come to an end with X-Men Apocolypse next year. Fassbender and McAvoy are a joy to watch! Film4, Saturday 21st November, 21:00
How I Spent My Summer Vacation (BBFC Rating 15, Adrian Grunberg, 2012) – So, Ml Gibson tanked his career with some horrible comments and struggles with alcohol. He has also made some really interesting (in a good way) choices, including The Beaver and this, which he also wrote. A stripped down film about a getaway driver trying to survive and then escape from a Mexican prison. A real throw back (again, in a good way!) . ITV4, Saturday 21st November, 23:00
Fight Club (BBFC Rating 18, David Fincher, 1999) – A modern classic. I think at one point in every young man’s life this movie speaks directly to them. Plenty of rewatch value, but that first time is great. 5*, Saturday 21st November, 23:20
Byzantium (BBFC Rating 15, Neil Jordan, 2012) – Yet another Irish, feminist vampire film! Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play sisters trying to survive on their own, after being exiled by the male dominated vampire society. I’ve simplified the story a bit, but it’s definitely interesting enough. Film4, Saturday 21st November, 23:35
The Help (BBFC Rating 12A, Tate Taylor, 2011) – Another quality film on BBC2, after Looper from 2 weeks ago. Sleeper hit from 2011, top notch acting throughout. BBC2, Saturday 21st November, 21:45
Unleashed (BBFC Rating 18, Louis Leterrier, 2005) – Jet Li’s best English language film, as “Danny the Dog”, who is used by loan shark Bob Hoskins to collect debts. He is found by Morgan Freeman and learns to live a real life. The fight scenes are brilliant, Jet Li actually acts, and there’s a bit with Morgan Freeman and Jet Li walking through Glasgow and going into a supermarket. Worth watching for those few minutes. ITV4, Sunday 22nd November, 00:55
ParaNorman (BBFC Rating PG, Chris Butler, 2012) – Stop motion animation from Laika, the company behind Coraline and Boxtrolls. A young boy can see ghosts (a really funny moment with the dead grandmother and the rest of the family) and is generally a misfit, until zombies are raised by a witch’s curse, and only Norman can save the town. Film4, Sunday 22nd November, 17:00
Welcome To The Punch (BBFC Rating 15, Eran Creevey, 2012) – Recommended by my Dad! James McAvoy plays the policeman trying to catch Mark Strong’s criminal who has returned to London. Andrea Riseborough and David Morrissey are in the supporting cast. A big budget for a British crime film, it looks incredibly slick. Channel 4, Sunday 22nd November, 23:05
Big Nothing (BBFC Rating 15, Jean-Baptiste Andrea, 1996) – Simon Pegg’s second film of the week! David Schwimmer and Pegg both put in good performances (not totally against type but still stretching themselves) as two deadbeats who decide to blackmail a local vicar. Black comedy. 4 Music, Monday 23rd November, 00:10
Total Recall (BBFC Rating 18, Paul Verhoeven, 1990) – Another Arnold classic! A man has weird dreams about Mars and a woman he seems to know. He goes to have a vacation memory planted, but something goes wrong – and perhaps his dreams are memories… ITV4, Tuesday 24th November, 23:05 / Thursday 26th November 22:00
I hope there’s something you like! See you next week when The Snooty Ushers choose their TV Film Of The Week!